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Report: Rangers to let Hamilton test free agency

The SportsXchange

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton appears destined to become a free agent.

The team won't make any offers to the slugger during the team's exclusive negotiating window, meaning he will hit the open market.

Rangers' general manager Jon Daniels told ESPN.com that the team agreed with Hamilton's agents that the outfielder would field offers.

"The realities are when a guy goes out and tests the market and it's this close, you're not going to pre-empt it," Daniels said. "I think he's going to go out and test the market and see what's out there and get back to us.

"No door has been closed. We're also very realistic about when a star player hits free agency at this point and the history of them returning to their original club. So we have to prepare both ways and prepare the club for the possibility that he's not back."

The 31-year-old hit .285 with 43 home runs and 128 RBIs in his fifth season in Texas. He struggled offensively at the end, and made a costly fielding error in the game that gave the AL West to the Oakland A's. His drop of a shallow fly ball turned a tie game into a 7-5 lead for Oakland, who went on to win, 12-5.

Hamilton then went 0-for-4 in Friday's AL wild-card game loss to the Baltimore Orioles, including striking out on three pitches as the tying run late in the game.

Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan told ESPN that Hamilton's poor finish won't change the team's approach.

"I think Josh would have probably liked to have finished stronger, and we would have liked to have seen him finish stronger," Ryan said. "Will it impact our position going forward? No, I don't think so. I think we'll consider the entire season because it is an entire season that affects the outcome.

"They'll go out and see what the market will bear and we'll see where we are at some point in time."
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